In pursuit of permanence: examining lower skilled temporary migrants' experiences with two-step migration in Manitoba
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This dissertation interrogates the links between immigration, citizenship, and social inequality by exploring temporary migrants' lived experiences of social exclusion in Manitoba. Based within a provincial context that supports temporary migrants' transitions to permanent residency through the Provincial Nominee Program, I examine how the promise of permanent settlement and a two-step immigration process influences migration decisions and the lived experiences that follow. Also, this dissertation highlights the ways in which temporary migrants find ways to exercise agency as they negotiate a complex migration system that is designed to exclude them. Drawing on twenty-six in-depth qualitative interviews and informed by a narrative methodology, I analyze accounts of temporary migrants who work in the hog processing industry in two rural communities. Using a theoretical lens informed by segmented labour market theory and citizenship theories, the dissertation reveals how processes of social exclusion are the outcomes of both labour market positions and legal exclusion from full membership in a nation-state. As a result, temporary migrants are positioned in an uncertain state of partial legal and social belonging. Theorizing the social effects of temporary migrants' location both in the labour market and in the complex matrix of legal statuses demonstrates the nuanced ways that temporary migrants understand how they can and do fit in Canadian society and make decisions based on such understandings. A significant empirical finding from this research is that having options for permanent residency is not a panacea for temporary migrants' unequal and marginalized social locations. In fact, the promise of permanent residency can contribute to an imbalance of power where employers have control over the futures of temporary migrants and their families. Pervasive effects of non-permanent status persist long after transitions to permanent resident status and are compounded by social dimensions such as language, class, gender, and race to shape temporary migrants' ability to engage in Canadian society. My analysis reveals the ways in which government designations (legal status) lack the ability to entirely erase social markers, making it questionable whether such classifications can restructure the social interactions and experiences of temporary migrants.